Victorian Govt unveils $3B business support package

As Melbourne and Victoria continues to wade through coronavirus shutdowns and restrictions, its premier Daniel Andrews has outlined a new $3 billion support package which includes cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support for the state’s businesses.

Included among them is a commitment to defer payroll tax for Victorian businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for the full 2020/21 financial year.

The Victorian Government said to date, almost 20,000 Victorian businesses have received payroll tax refunds in the last financial year worth more than $540 million, with thousands more receiving a full waiver.

The government said by rolling out a full payroll tax deferral for businesses with a $10 million plus payroll will provide a $1.7 billion cashflow boost for business.

The new funding announcement takes business support now available to $6 billion.

It also includes a commitment to deliver over $1.1 billion in cash grants to small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions including $822 million as part of the third round of the Business Support Fund.

Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size. More than 108,000 businesses have already shared in $1.47 billion from the first two rounds of Business Support Fund grants.

The state’s hospitality sector will also benefit. Bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and reception centres will be able to access grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 to help them through the crisis.

Alpine resorts are also set to benefit from access to grants of up to $20,000 to cover their resort fees.

The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will also be brought forward to 1 January 2021 and the Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.

“For our state to recover, we need our businesses to recover too. As we take our first safe and steady steps towards ‘COVID Normal’, this support will help make sure we get through this together,” Andrews said.

“We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses, so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers.”

Victoria’s Treasurer Tim Pallas said, “As we drive down case numbers and reach ‘COVID Normal’ – we’re providing billions of dollars in support to make sure businesses make it through to ‘COVID Normal’.”

The Victorian head of Ai Group, Tim Piper, said the funding commitment was “just a beginning” of what is needed.

“We are extremely disappointed that the government has only deferred payroll tax,” Piper said.

“It means this debt will continue to hang over businesses which may not have recovered enough by the time they need to repay the government.

“This should have been a waiving of payroll tax offered to businesses across the board.  It would provide a much needed injection of confidence when they are looking to re-invigorate their businesses.

“However, this is an important package and there are real positives being offered, including grants for small businesses, for the ski fields, export initiatives and digital support.  Ai Group also welcomes the deferral of the increase in the State’s landfill levy as a sensible policy decision.

“This is as much about jobs as it is about businesses.  We hope the Government understands the severity of this recession and that businesses will have to use these funds to repay debt.  The next stage is all about regenerating business and that will require an even greater contribution from Government. 

Ai Group last week outlined a series of measures which will get the economy going again including a focus on apprenticeships and youth unemployment.  The best thing the Government can do is to remove the impossible targets it has set for restriction easing and work to get the border open with NSW.”

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